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Thicker Than Water: Coming-of-Age Stories by Irish & Irish American Writers Hardcover – February 13, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Gordon Snell, editor of Thicker Than Water, gets right to the point with his introductory sentence: "This remarkable collection was inspired by the fact that Ireland is a young country: around half of its population is under the age of twenty-five. For them, coming of age is a very recent or present reality." By pairing the universality of teen angst with a more exotic locale than the well-studied United States, Snell has created a bridge of understanding that spans the Atlantic from one "young" country to another. While bestselling author Maeve Binchy and popular young adult author Chris Lynch are probably the only writers here who will gain any name recognition with American readers, this fine assortment of stories is a wonderful introduction to Irish writers for teens. Lynch's "Off Ya Go, So" illustrates that teenage pregnancy makes for a painful decision no matter what the culture, while Binchy's "When Grania Grows Up" explores, in spare and beautiful prose, the quiet demise of a parents marriage, as seen through the eyes of their youngest daughter. Helena Mulkerns's creation, an Irish waitress in the heart of Texas, attempts to make over her identity in "Landlocked," and in the title story, Emma Donoghue writes, in a perfectly pitched teen voice, about how two sisters learn to draw blood using only their sharp tongues. From defying parents and fighting with siblings, to longing to change identity along with clothes and makeup, Snell has presented a green-tinted collection that nevertheless brilliantly expresses the rainbow of adolescent emotion. (Ages 13 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

From Publishers Weekly

A dozen tales cover a gamut of emotions in Thicker Than Water: Coming-of-Age Stories by Irish and Irish American Writers, ed. by Gordon Snell, from Vincent Banville's "One Day When We Were Young," which captures a 13-year-old boy's awakening sexual attraction in 1955 Ireland, to a cheeky teen's account of her mother's remarriage in the titular short story by Emma Donoghue, to Chris Lynch's "Off Ya Go, So," a bittersweet tale of the end of innocence for a Bostonian teen on holiday in Ireland and for the young woman with whom he falls in love.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Printing edition (February 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385325711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385325714
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,933,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "" on April 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When a heavy-hitter like Maeve Binchy contributes a short story to a collection, you can be sure it's a book worth looking into. And so it is with Thicker Than Water: Coming of Age Stories by Irish and Irish-American Writers. A group of 13 stories by some better-known Irish writers--only one is apparently written by an American--the collection takes a look at the many facets of Irish adolescence and young adulthood: past and present, Catholic and Protestant, male and female, at home and abroad.
Though written from an Irish point of view, and with primarily Irish characters and settings, these stories will resonate with young readers from many backgrounds, giving them the opportunity to bridge national and cultural boundaries. Moreover, the stories that are narrated by an adult reflecting on childhood may help children understand that the parents that seem so utterly incapable of understanding them have already gone through similar experiences.
The collection also explores, to some extent, Ireland's own coming of age. In the introduction Gordon Snell offers the stories as a celebration of the "Celtic Tiger," with its new-economy prosperity and young, eager population of under-25's. But a number of the tales seem more to mourn the death of the old Ireland, as warmly remembered family homes are demolished in favor of new development and native species become extinct.
The quality of the writing is quite fine overall; the best will leave the reader longing to reach out and comfort the anxious, self-doubting teenager she or he once was. Among the stand outs are Chris Lynch's "Off Ya Go, So" and Emma Donaghue's title story "Thicker Than Water," which should be required reading for any young person plagued by a younger sibling.
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Format: Hardcover
I must first admit Thicker than Water is not a book I would typically choose to read. I usually prefer novels to read, not a collection of short stories. However, the title intrigued me. I decided to give it a try.
Even though the book is not a novel, it contains a similar idea throughout all the stories: growing up. Therefore, I find this book an excellent choice for teenagers. I particularly liked "When Grania Grows Up." It is a story about a young girl who symbolically and literally grows up when she realizes her parents are only together because of her. She decides to move out of her parents' house to live with her friend, so (I believe) her parents and herself can be free.
I believe many teenagers might like "Good Girl," which is a different type of story. While she is waiting on her boyfriend, a young girl is tricked into going in an isolated area. There, girls (about her own age) mistreat her by shaving her head. But, through this experience she learns that her boyfriend doesn't love her, and she also gains more appreciation for her younger sister.
One story, in particular, may be a little controversial. "Off Ya Go, So" is about a young girl dealing with pregnancy and planning an abortion. Although the term "abortion" is never used, it is clear what she is planning to do.
I recommend this book highly to people who enjoy short stories and to teenagers dealing with the emotions of growing up. The stories are interesting, and they are written by Irish or Irish-American authors, which adds even more interest to it if you have never read anything by an Irish author.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Athena on June 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I must admit, I did judge this book by the cover. I took it off the shelf for it's beautifully designed cover.
This is a collection of 13 short stories on growing up for Irish teens. Written by 13 irish or irish-american authors, well known and semi-famous.
Short Stories generally showcase the writing style of the author, rather than the story or content. Each of these authors wrote in a good style. The stories are common everyday teen stories which will make a teen think if they have not encountered certain situations. The stories are to demonstrate how young Irish people will grow up in the real world. Alot of the teens who will read this and emphasize or sympathize with the characters at times. They realistic and apart of our everyday 'real' world.
The story lines are direct, simple and to-the-point. For readers who appreciate good writing style and short stories, you will like many parts of this book.
I will recommend this to anyone who is interested to seeing the Irish adolescent perspective on subjects such as bulimia, puberty, friendship, abortion, relationships with: siblings, parents, & the world, and more.
For parents of Irish teens, this is a good book for them to read and connect with other irish teens.
The stories are realistic and the writing styles of the excellent authors makes this book something you should really check out.
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